Here we go again: In June, Darius Leszczynski of Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority found that an hour of cellphone exposure shrinks cultured human cells. The resulting gaps between the cells, the study suggests, could allow toxins to enter the brain. As quickly as several scientists dismissed the study—saying the shrinkage was probably caused simply by heat—Gro Harlem Brundtland, General-Director of the World Health Organization, issued a warning to parents to limit cellphone use in children.
This is the latest volley in the decade-old debate over the dangers of cellphone radiation,
a controversy that has spawned a cottage industry hawking everything from hands-free devices to radiation blockers. Despite countless studies—most of which were too small or too partisan—we still don't know
if cellphones are dangerous. Even Leszczynski admits his study proves nothing definitively, adding that large-scale human testing must be done.
With 137 million cellphone users in the U.S., and with more radiation-intensive broadband applications in the offing, the time for such testing is now.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which shares jurisdiction over cellphones with the FCC, should develop a plan to definitively study the long-term effects of cellphone use.
It's time to put this issue to rest, and only the government's deep pockets can do so.
In the meantime, you can find basic information about this issue at www.fda.gov/cellphones.
—Suzanne Kantra Kirschner, Technology Editor